Best Buddies in California Newsletter: February 2021 Feb 4, 2021 | California News | Message Preview February 2021 Happy February and happy 2021! We are thrilled to introduce the first-ever Best Buddies in California Newsletter. We want to make sure you know about all of the exciting things that are happening throughout our entire state no matter where you live. Our programs are continuing to grow, evolve, and expand into new communities and we do not want you to miss a beat! You can look forward to hearing stories from our program participants and partners, highlights from our amazing volunteers, and find out more information about local and statewide events that you can participate in. Julie Celebrates 10-Years at Silicon Valley Bank Last Week, a Bay Area Jobs participant, hit a huge milestone – she celebrated 10 years at Silicon Valley Bank (SVB)! SVB is one of Best Buddies' largest and oldest national partners. In fact, in 2011 when the Jobs Program first launched in the Bay Area, Julie was the first participant hired. Ten years later we are still celebrating. “When they hired me, I felt shocked. I felt overwhelmed and thought, no way! It was so exciting and it is a corporate office where I get to work. It was a real honor.” Julie is thankful to her college teacher who gave her the nudge to apply for the job. Her job as the Facilities Clerk has given her independence and she’s enjoyed building relationships with her colleagues. “My favorite part about SVB is being able to work in a real office. I can do my job every day even though I have a disability. I feel honored to go into the office, take transportation, and work on my own. I really connect with my coworkers and have made new friends. I love working at SVB!” SVB is not only committed to hiring individuals with disabilities but also to providing opportunities for career growth. Since her start 10 years ago, Julie has added more and more responsibilities to her job description every year. Over the last three years, Julie has worked toward her goal of working at the front desk. SVB has supported this goal by carving out time in her daily schedule to shadow the front desk and support the team. The pandemic has put a hold on being in the office and Julie, like many, is adjusting to this new normal. “Since working from home, I have been doing a lot of at-home learning, checking LinkedIn, sending emails, and checking in with my supervisor. Even though COVID-19 is still going on, I am happy to continue working at Silicon Valley Bank.” Congratulations on your 10-year work anniversary, Julie, and thank you to Silicon Valley Bank for your longstanding partnership! We Love our Volunteers Meet Lisa Finburgh from San Diego! How long have you been a volunteer with Best Buddies? This is my third year volunteering with Best Buddies! Describe your current and previous involvement with Best Buddies? In the past, I was an associate member of San Diego State University’s Best Buddies chapter. Later, I served as an Activities Coordinator on their executive board! I’ve also previously volunteered with B3 coffee! Now, I volunteer as a speech coach in the ambassador program and I’m on the friendship walk committee. How has Best Buddies impacted your life? Best Buddies has changed my life in so many ways! I will forever be grateful for the lessons I’ve learned about inclusion and accessibility, and the wonderful lifelong friends the organization has brought me. I adore Best Buddies’ mission, fierce leaders, kind buddies, and amazing advocates. What would you say to someone who is considering volunteering with Best Buddies? DO IT! Best Buddies breeds nothing but joy, laughter, and friendship. It is the most fulfilling and meaningful volunteer work. Events and Happenings Best Buddies Friendship Walk: May 1st, 2021 Just last week we kicked off our favorite season of the year—Friendship Walk is here! We are so excited for the 2021 Friendship Walk and we hope you are too. Our biggest event of the year celebrates our programs as we continue to bring awareness to our mission of inclusion all while raising funds to support our programs. The awareness and funds raised are vital as we continue to work to see schools, workplaces, and communities become more inclusive of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Everyone has a seat at the table, and everyone has a voice at the table – that is why we Walk! We have fun and new ways to celebrate this year. You can read more about it on our Friendship Walk websites and be sure to stay tuned as we get closer, so you do not miss a thing. There are four Walks across the state of California that you can be a part of: Sacramento, San Francisco Bay Area, Fresno, and Southern California. We invite you to gather your friends, family, neighbors and start or join a Friendship Walk team today! SACRAMENTO WALK BAY AREA WALK FRESNO WALK SOCAL WALK Best Buddies Virtual Events LEARN MORE Want to know what is going on in February? Check out our virtual events calendar on our website for more information. These activities are free and open to all Best Buddies program participants unless the event specifically says it is for a particular group. Should you have any questions or require assistance contact email@example.com. Get Involved Love the mission and want to get more involved? There are lots of ways to be a part of Best Buddies in California! Reach out to our staff so we can get you plugged in. Northern California | Stefanie Taylor: firstname.lastname@example.org Central Valley | Haley Hatai: email@example.com Southern California | Sarah Won: firstname.lastname@example.org To receive the latest Best Buddies news and announcements, click here. Tags: California News 6 Share You also might be interested in Best Buddies in California Newsletter: January 2022 Jan 20, 2022 Let's make 2022 our BEST year yet! Best Buddies in California Newsletter: June 2021 Jun 10, 2021 School's Out for Summer Highlights from Virtual BBLC Aug 1, 2021 Watch the 32nd annual Best Buddies Leadership Conference (BBLC).